/ Skoda: Strike them off the list, forthwith!

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Xharlie on 13 Nov 2017
Our Skoda Rapid is back in the workshop. This is round three -- round 1 being the one that I mentioned in a post a bit over a month ago, round 2 going unmentioned, here, and round three starting this weekend.

In round 1, three injectors (i.e. all of them) and a flywheel were replaced. (circa 20000 km total mileage.) Round 2 saw injectors (same ones?) replaced (bit over 21000 km total). We got the car back from Skoda on last Tuesday and it was driving alright although the consumption was about 1 litre higher per hundred kilometres than normal.

I reported the high consumption to the mechanic and told him that I had to drive to Konstanz on the weekend. He said to go, monitor the car, and report back on Monday. Unfortunately, the same problems observed before round 1 (and 2, although they were milder, then) began to manifest before we made it to Konstanz and, on the way back, we ended up dead on the side of the A6 Autobahn.

What a fun place from which to watch the first snow-fall of the year!

I learned that emergency triangles are truly shite in a breeze!

Before the car died, it certainly wasn't running smoothly and I already suspected the injectors again. We had resolved to drop the car off at the same Nuremburg workshop who knew the problem and take public transport home. Then the warning light for the DPF turned on, along with the complete obtuse message: "Partikelfilter: Bordbuch!" What were we meant to do? Pull out our journals and write down the feelings that the light evoked? Perhaps beginning with "Captain's Log:..."?

After finding out what this meant in an online version of the owner's handbook (The Partikelfilter wasn't mentioned at all in our on-board copy.) we learned that we were supposed to fill the car and go for a drive of over 15 minutes at over 1800 RPM. Funny, I thought, because we'd just been two hours on the Autobahn so the DPF should have regenerated. Also, we usually drive over half an hour anyway so it wasn't like we were using the car to go shop-and-back.

We did precisely what was ordered and after about 30 minutes, the light went off. About 20 minutes later, we were stopped, watching the snow. Circa 70 km from Nuremburg, I think.

A rescue arrived. I told the mechanic about the injectors and the DPF light. Mechanic says it smells like the clutch.

Car on truck. Off to Feuchtwangen. Not Nuremburg.

Fine, whatever. I'm totally livid (not because of the location but because of the problems in the first place) but trying to be polite.

VW test laptop attached. Suitably disgusting chicory served. Many software tests performed. Eventually, two more mechanics appear and start playing with the engine. Fuel injectors blamed -- car's not going anywhere. Hire wagon ordered. From Ansbach -- nearly half an hour away.

Much, much later, we get driven to Ansbach by someone who works for the hire car company, sign some paperwork and go to collect the car. The identical VW flavour of the Rapid, basically. It's covered in snow so the bloke says he'll write that on the inspection report. (Like a complete fool, I took him at his word but didn't check that he actually did so. I should have, because we discovered a dent, this morning, that was totally invisible on the black car covered in snow in the dark. We're at their mercy, now. Just another kick when we're down.)

Now, we wait. To hear the fate of our car and to find out what happens when we return the dented hire-car. F*ck.

I don't think I even want the Skoda back anymore. I'm so sick of this problem. The number of hours wasted and the number of spoiled plans are starting to add up.

I don't think I'll ever touch another VW but I'm damn sure I'll never own another Skoda.

Skoda Rapid: 1/5. Would not buy again.
jkarran - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

If the injectors on your car keep dying but they don't on most others the problem isn't the injectors. Your problem of course is convincing anyone else of that so they'll look a little deeper. Good luck.
jk
john arran - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

Are you sure the place you got towed to wasn't actually called 'Feuchtwagen?'
Toerag - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Exactly, it's whatever that's controlling them - the decreased economy is because they're injecting more fuel than they should. The DPF is then getting full/polluted because of excess fuel being burnt (running too rich). Either the ECU is duff, or a sensor is and the ECU is then telling the injectors to inject more fuel because of what the sensor is telling it.
Xharlie on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Toerag:

That was more or less my hypothesis, too. Unfortunately, my German isn't good enough to argue this with a car mechanic and my car-knowledge isn't good enough to empower such an argument, even were it to be held in English.

I don't think that the problem is electronic, however. I think that there is some mechanical fault that is causing new electronic parts to fail extraordinarily quickly. Otherwise why would the car run almost perfectly when the parts are replaced? Even if a sensor is to blame and the injectors are working over-time by 20%, surely they wouldn't fail in under 1000 km?
jkarran - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

The reduced economy you've observed doesn't sound very substantial, economy does vary quite significantly with season anyway especially once your tyres start clearing snow and water.

Increased duty cycle won't wear or fail your injectors unless they are by design right on the edge of their ability to shed heat which seems unlikely in Germany in winter (and they'd never be designed like that anyway).

My guess if it is actually the injectors which cause trouble is something to do with the fuel supply between pump/filter and injector. It could equally be the injectors are just being swapped out because a confused computer says to.

Early flywheel failure and clutch (also brake) smell this time around sounds odd, was it snowy, could the stability control have been playing up or simply working the brakes quite hard?

All very frustrating anyway, hope you get it fixed and sold.
jk
Post edited at 11:28
Xharlie on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to jkarran:

This time, I was on winter tyres -- the workshop changed them at the same time they had the car for round 2. Last Winter, however, I recorded better economy with these winter tyres than my summer ones.

I wasn't clearing water or snow until the final leg back from Konstanz, yesterday. (Even then, just water. The snow wasn't settling, yet.)

I am fairly sure i was not engaging the stability control. I was on the German Autobahn, driving 110 km/h (where the car felt most comfortable, given the issues). These roads are so smooth and well cambered, the car basically steers itself if you hold the wheel straight.

I hadn't touched the brakes from the moment we left the fuel station when we were carrying out the instructions related to the DPF light -- there wasn't much traffic and most of it was going faster than we were.
ian caton on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

Much sympathy for your story. Out of interest is yours one of those that requires a mod because of the emissions cheating business? If so has it had the mod?

Ian
(Rapid owner)
baron - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:
I have sympathy for your plight and hope it has some successful conclusion.
The climber's car of choice is, however, the Skoda Octavia, no faults of any sort ever recorded since the first one rolled off the production line.
Xharlie on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to ian caton:

I don't know if we need a mod but we haven't had one -- at least not hardware. I guess the software update might have happened, automatically. Nobody from VW or Skoda or the workshops has told us that we need to have anything done.

As far as I understand it, software updates for modern cars are automatic and opaque -- even the workshop doesn't know what all of them are or what they do, exactly.
JLS on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to baron:

>"no faults of any sort ever recorded since the first one rolled off the production line."

What about that incident where an Octavia was reported to have punctured on the A6 near Garstang in 2003.
Are you one of those that still dispute whether that actually happened?
captain paranoia - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

I assume someone has checked the fuel filter, and whether your fuel has been contaminated in some way?

Hot clutch/brakes smell of hot phenolics. As do overheating power electronics. Has someone checked the alternator regulation/battery? Whilst automotive electronics are pretty robust, having to cope with a really horrible electrical environment, I suppose it's possible that an overvolt situation might be reducing the life of the electronic systems.

But I'd hope that the ECU would be reporting overvolt situations...
Irk the Purist - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to JLS:

I have an Octavia and it's got a slow puncture in the rear off side tyre. I have to pump it up and reset the tyre pressures in the computer every three months.

OP - sorry, you have my sympathy. I've had similar issues in other cars. My ford focus suspension repeatedly failed and I never got to the bottom of it. If it's not precious you should probably get rid!
baron - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to JLS:

Photos or it didn't happen!
Xharlie on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

More importantly, I'd hope that the three separate workshops that have now had the privilege of inspecting the car would have detected such problems immediately. Same goes for the fuel filter. As I said, I know just about nothing about cars but plain common sense says that upon observing failing injectors (€ 300.00 at least), one would immediately proceed to inspect the fuel-filter if not replace it for kicks. It's a € 10.00 part! And they're paying for the injectors under guarantee!

The mind boggles.
Lusk - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

I too, extend my sympathies to you. VW service sufferer.
They are absolutely infuriating, I have to suffer their farting about on an annual basis and some. It'll just annoy me to describe all their incompetency on here!
Mark Storey - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

The car runs fine to start with because all the fuel trims have been reset when the injectors are replaced. It then takes a while for the 'trims' to drift as the engine management system 'learns'. You need to google 'long term/short term fuel trim and 'adaptation'.

More importantly you need to get it to an independant VAG group specialist, who can see the difference between cause and effect and knows their way around VAG group live data.
Steve Perry - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

Sounds like an absolute barsteward. Torch it, claim on the insurance and get an Octavia - the slow puncture stories are fake news!
Tom V - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

If your Rapid is a 1.6 TDI CR from between 2013 and 2015 then it probably has got the EA 189 engine which means it should be given the software update.
If it's a 1.4 it doesnt apply.
ian caton on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

Thanks for replying, wish I could help.
JLS on 13 Nov 2017
TommyC on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to baron:

We use Octavia's as our Fast Response Units in the London Ambulance Service, 80,000 miles worth of hard driving in London and their still going strong (Albeit with a fair few dents).
Ben Sharp - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to TommyC:

That's the trouble, VW used to have a reputation for giving you 200k plus out of their diesels. They're now so complex that that's no longer true, the engines are still strong but everything they rely on falls to pieces and they seem to be a pig to diagnose. A couple of colleagues have VW's at work and the works car is VW, the amount that gets spent on them is astronomical. (I know they're skodas but skoda, audi and seat are all owned by vw and there seems to be very little difference in parts now).
GrahamD - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> That's the trouble, VW used to have a reputation for giving you 200k plus out of their diesels.

Hmmmm. I don't think VW diesels were ever that great (although their ads certainly made a great job of convincing people that, because they were German, they must be good).

Peugeot were the go to diesel engines.
Jim Lancs on 14 Nov 2017
I'm not sure if this is a recent thing - the litany of problems recounted by Xharlie reads exactly like the experience my brother in law had with his new Audi A4 Quattro he bought new 8 years ago.
Steve Perry - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Jim Lancs:

I wonder if sometimes (like the OP describes) you can just get a dog of a car. Somehow it gets through final factory inspections but the engine management or the engine assembly is not right. Then some poor beggar pays 20k for a world of grief.
I've never bought a new car.
captain paranoia - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

> More importantly, I'd hope that the three separate workshops that have now had the privilege of inspecting the car would have detected such problems immediately.

I don't go in for hope; I prefer evidence...
ianstevens - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to baron:

> I have sympathy for your plight and hope it has some successful conclusion.

> The climber's car of choice is, however, the Skoda Octavia, no faults of any sort ever recorded since the first one rolled off the production line.

If only that were true.

The turbo blew up on mine, taking an injector with it. Game over.
Tony Jones - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:
The car that was referred to in this topic https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=674207&v=1#x8672235 as having the catastrophic failure was a Skoda.

It's a Fabia with one of those nasty 3 cylinder engines that eat timing chains. The timing chain jumped a cog about eighteen months ago and was replaced but this time failed completely causing major engine damage.

The electric windows have only worked intermittently, the rims are porous, there is rust all along the bottom of the hatch: I can only assume it was built on a Friday afternoon as, if they were all like this one, they'd never have sold many.
Post edited at 17:23
Tom V - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

You can pick any diesel engine you like and it will have its advocates and its detractors.
The exception is The Mercedes Benz OM 617.
TommyC on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Oh that doesn't bode well for the new VW Tiguan's the service has just leased! Our Skoda's are 4/5 years old so that makes sense.
SDM on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> Hmmmm. I don't think VW diesels were ever that great (although their ads certainly made a great job of convincing people that, because they were German, they must be good).

The VW 1.9 PD was a great engine. Decent economy and absolutely bombproof as shown by the number on autotrader with well over 200k on the clock. As with all modern diesels, recent VAG diesels have pushed for better economy and emissions at the expense of reliability.

> Peugeot were the go to diesel engines.

The PSA 1.6 Hdi has to be a contender for the worst engine of a generation.
Stuart en Écosse - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SDM:

That is a great engine, been around for ages and is a bit crude by modern standards but like you say there are lots of VAG cars with spaceship mileages still running around. Mrs B has a 09 Octavia 1.9 and although it sounds a bit of an old taxi, it pulls ok and returns 60mpg without any great effort, not bad for a fairly old and big car which is frequently heavily loaded.

graeme jackson - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Xharlie:

You were supposed to buy an Octavia estate. Not the company's fault if you bought the wrong car.
Tony Hirst - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:

Hi Tom

Impressed to see you have become an expert in cars ! Must be the experience of pushing yours up Hillsborough hill all those years ago.

Tony
Tom V - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Tony Hirst:

Ha ha.
That's one of my favourite pub tales.
You couldn't fix the throttle with a twig these days.
I've got to say, for a fit bunch of lads it seemed to take an inordinately long time for you to catch up with me at Grenoside.
Xharlie on 12:05 Mon
In reply to Xharlie:

Update:

- The workshop has ordered a laundry-list of rare and exotic Parts (TM) that will apparently take two weeks to be delivered, let alone fitted.
- My wife took the call, messaged me about it, and then caught a flight to the good weather in Italy so I only have vague details about which parts are on order but it sounds like they're basically rebuilding the thing from the ground up.
- I identified the hire car as a relatively recent Polo 1.4 TDi (why isn't it written on the rear in silver symbols, anymore?) which was identical to the offending Skoda Rapid 1.4 TDI in just about every perceivable way, with the addition of extremely bright, blinking, annoying and incredibly distracting lights on the trailing edge of the wing mirrors and a "hire-car" feeling to the gear box.
- Hire car will no longer annoy me because it had to be returned to the dispatcher in Ansbach and we are once again stranded, without wheels.
- Time-to-work by Car is about 25 minutes and costs under a litre of diesel.
- Time-to-work by public transport is close to 1 hour 15 and costs close to 5 Euro in one direction. (Underground; Rail; 1.5 km walk.)
- Current and forecast weather is too shit to cycle 20 km while wearing glasses just to get to the salt mine. I did that for years, in the past, and it sucks.

We are transitioning from "livid" to "incandescent".

I wish I knew what to do, now. Even if this round of replacements fixes the problem, for how long will it remain "fixed"? After dumping me on the side of a crazy-busy Autobahn, I no longer trust the vehicle. And the total number of days in which the car has been unavailable for our use (and *not* substituted with a hire-car) will be about a month. In 16 months of ownership. With circa 20 000 km total mileage.

This is untenable.

How to proceed? If I knew it would help, I would immediately seek out the assistance of a lawyer. I guess I'll wait until I can talk to one of our more experienced local German friends who can point us in the right direction.
jkarran - on 12:23 Mon
In reply to Xharlie:

> This is untenable.

Sounds exasperating. Why no replacement hire car?

> How to proceed? If I knew it would help, I would immediately seek out the assistance of a lawyer. I guess I'll wait until I can talk to one of our more experienced local German friends who can point us in the right direction.

Your car is being fixed under warranty and the hire/courtesy car is free to you (when you have it), right? Are they contractually obliged to provide one? I appreciate it's very annoying but it's just a machine, it will be fixable
jk
Xharlie on 12:25 Mon
In reply to jkarran:
Apparently not. The hire-car is available for up to five days. No warranty repair is expected to take longer than that. (None should, to be honest.)

I wouldn't be surprised to find that this is a standard caveat in such warrantys / mobility guarantees.

If it is not, that's just one more reason to stay the hell away from any VW-group shit.

Edit: Out! Damn Apostroph'e.
Post edited at 12:26
icnoble on 13:46 Mon
In reply to Xharlie:

Just an idea, is your car a diesel and have you had the "dieselgate" software fix. If so this could explain things.
Xharlie on 10:56 Fri
In reply to Xharlie:

Further news: the workshop has confirmed that the back-ordered parts from VW are delayed until 30th of November. At least one working day will be required to fit the new parts and so, even if they do resolve the problem and no further issues are discovered through this "shotgun" approach to diagnosis, we won't be driving the vehicle until the week starting 5 December.

FFS.
jkarran - on 11:01 Fri
In reply to Xharlie:

Are you leaning on them for a courtesy car whatever they're contractually obliged to provide they might be willing and able to do a bit better? What about a few days with a demo car since you're thinking of part exchanging the one they're fixing when it's done... give them an excuse to help you.
jk
Xharlie on 11:38 Fri
In reply to jkarran:

We did some leaning. To no avail.

In these cases, there's normally someone with the power to help you out and the will to do so if you but say the right things or play the game to their liking. In South Africa, I'd know what the rules of the game were and I'd be able to charm the right employee to gain the off-the-contract bonuses. Here, I don't know how the game is played and my German isn't good enough, anyway.

One of the greatest difficulties, when living in a foreign land, is not communication. I have been fluent for a year, already, but I am not "local" enough to earn favours beyond what the book says I get and, in this case, that was five days of hire-car use.

I am furious with VW but I am not really angry with the workshop or the hire-car people. Or the ADAC who rescued us from the Autobahn. They're over-worked and running on small margins, I guess. VW's insurance and guarantee arms outsource rescue, hire-car supply and repair to these smaller companies who are then thrown into the breach, forced to try to appease angered owners like myself. I'd hate to be in that position because they know I'm angry and there's little they can do about it. They didn't design the flawed engine and they can only wait, like I must, for the back-ordered parts to be delivered. Even if they did give me the extra mile treatment, it would be of no direct benefit because they do not gain work through goodwill -- the nearest contracting workshop to the point of break-down gets the job.

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